Full confession – I have a bit of a tea obsession. It started with the super sweet milk tea that accompanied dim sum excursions growing up, followed with myriad bubble tea variations, unsweetened iced teas as a substitute for soda, and the pleasant ritual of traditional afternoon tea. I now have a cup of tea at least once a day – starting with a morning black tea, followed with an afternoon cup, and sometimes finished with a dessert or herbal tea in the evening. I always favor unsweetened these days. I appreciate a good cup of coffee, but for me, tea’s where it’s at.
So, I was super excited to join the Kansas City Food Circle and Hugo Tea this past weekend for a cupping event. Hosted by Founder Tyler and Retail Master Zach, this was a great opportunity to sample Hugo Tea’s varieties, learn about optimal brewing times and temperatures, and sip and sample with fellow tea aficionados.
I was not familiar with Hugo Tea before this event, and it was great to hear their interesting story. A local company based here in KC, Hugo Tea is one of the few tea companies in the Midwest. They blend, pack and flavor their tea in their warehouse (the event was held in the little front area) and sell to retailers both locally and nationwide. Their packaging is intentionally gender-neutral/slightly masculine in response to the stereotypical “girly” persona that tea has traditionally had.
For the tasting, we each received an individual cup and spoon:
My favorites were the Da Ye Xi tea – an intense but smooth green variety, and the 100 Year – plucked from hundred-year-old tea trees instead of a traditional tea plant (as most teas are). I took some samples home with me so I could recreate these delicious cups again – delish!
Other favorites include a strong but smooth Jasmine variety, and an intense, sinus-clearing peppermint herbal infusion.
Overall, this was a fantastic event and opportunity to sample and learn about some high-quality teas.
For having launched merely four years ago, Hugo Tea is already establishing a solid reputation and presence in the local market/Midwest; however, they are looking to expand. Keep an eye out for them at your grocery store or coffee/tea shop and let me know what you think!